Friday, December 21, 2012

Three People Face Arson And Murder Charges In November 10th Indianapolis Explosion; Motivated By Insurance Fraud To Relieve Debt

Remember the catastrophic natural gas explosion on November 10th, 2012 in the Richmond Hill section of Indianapolis? On December 21st, Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry announced that three people have been arrested and face numerous arson and murder charges. Joining Curry at the press conference were representatives from the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Fire Department, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Indianapolis mayor’s office. Others were there to represent the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Secret Service, both of which played key roles in the multiple-agency investigation.

Arrested were Monserrate Shirley and her boyfriend, Mark Leonard, who lived in the home, along with Leonard's brother, Robert Leonard; see their photos HERE. All three were charged with two counts of murder, one count of conspiracy to commit arson, 33 counts of arson, a Class B felony and 12 counts of arson, a Class A felony. The death penalty will be under consideration in the case, since next-door neighbors John and Jennifer Longworth died in the blast. Damage to homes was estimated at $4.0 million, and 31 homes are slated for demolition. Prosecutors said there could be more arrests, and are looking for a fourth man seen riding around in the white van with Robert Leonard.

Update December 24th: The three suspects appeared in court and pleaded not guilty before a Marion County judge. Mark and Bob Leonard have had public defenders appointed for them, while Monserrate Shirley continues to be represented by Randall Cable. The death penalty will be under consideration. All three are being held without bond, and an initial jury trial date was set for March 4th, 2013. More than 100 potential witnesses are already listed by the prosecution, hundreds of forensic exhibits could be presented, and dozens of hours of testimony could be considered by jurors.

-- Read the 40-page probable cause affidavit HERE

Method: Authorities say the source of the blast was a microwave oven which ignited within the home of origin. It was timed to ignite after the interior of the home filled with natural gas. A natural gas step-down valve into the home had been removed and a gas valve in the fireplace was missing; without the valve, it took six to nine hours for the house to fill with gas to reach the combustibility to cause an explosion. In addition, the thermostat in the house had been changed from a digital unit to a slide switch after an initial attempt to blow up the house one week prior failed; the slide switch creates a spark when activated. The Friday before the explosion (Nov. 9), both Mark and Bob Leonard had spoken with a Citizen's Energy employee and asked about the differences between propane and natural gas and how much it would take to fill a house.

Motive: Insurance fraud. Mark Leonard allegedly told an acquaintance that the plan was to recover $300,000 in insurance money after the explosion, a third of which he would receive for aiding in the crime. WISH-TV reports that the insurance on personal property in the house had been increased to $450,000 shortly before the explosion. Monserrate Shirley filed bankruptcy in 2007 with her then-husband, but that case was dismissed in June 2012 because they failed to make the required payments. According to court documents, the home had two mortgages -- one for more than $160,000 and a second for nearly $65,000. The 9-year-old home with four bedrooms and two and a half baths was put up for a short sale in March 2011; initially listing for $188,900, it was taken off the market after cutting the price to $149,900 in January 2012 failed to attract any interest.

RTV6's research indicated that Mark Leonard has a long string of petty offenses in his past. In addition, at least three women have come forward claiming that Mark Leonard swindled them out of money. In addition, Mark Leonard reportedly lost about $10,000 at a casino about three weeks before the explosion. RTV6 reports that Robert Leonard also has a criminal pedigree as well, having been jailed twice for auto theft.

Defense Reaction: Randall Cable, now the attorney only for Shirley, said he was stunned by their arrest. "I'm just as surprised as everyone else that they've made an arrest. My clients have consistently indicated their innocence," he said.

2 comments:

  1. "Joining Curry at the press conference were representatives from the Indianapolis Department of Public Safety, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department, the Fire Department, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and the Indianapolis mayor’s office. Others were there to represent the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the U.S. Secret Service, both of which played key roles in the multiple-agency investigation."

    AND IF YOU'RE STUPID TO BELIEVE THOSE LYING SACK OF SHIT I HAVE A VILLA ON MARS THAT I WOULD LIKE TO SELL TO YOU...CHEAP. ONLY 300'000.00$

    WAKE UP PEOPLE. THOSE PIGS IN HUMAN FORM LOVE TO MESS WITH YOUR MINDS.

    PSY-OP
    PSY-OP
    PSY-OP.

    ReplyDelete
  2. THE "METHOD" section is humorous.Laughed my ass off after reading it.

    ReplyDelete